UCF’s Dillon Gabriel, Jaylon Robinson bond in Hawaii

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“I think as friends it’s extremely important,” Gabriel said of the trip. “Now we can kind of put two-and-two together; at least he knows why I am the way I am. He was able to see my family and meet everyone. So that was cool, but then on the football side, just being able to connect on a different level.”

Bay Area’s playful new Hawaiian food option is open and already drawing crowds

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Customers were so eager to try the Hawaiian fare at San Bruno’s Diamond Head General Store on opening day last week that the restaurant sold out within hours and had to close for a full day to recoup.

“It was pretty freaking crazy,” co-owner Chad Kaneshiro said of the crowds.

Kaneshiro and his wife, Monica, both former fine dining chefs, opened Diamond Head in the same space where they ran their popular brunch restaurant Morning Wood for several years.

Their new spot is an ode to the no-frills, takeout-only general stores that Kaneshiro grew up eating at on his native Oahu. Retail shelves are filled with Hawaiian as well as Japanese and Korean snacks and products like guava jam, shoyu peanuts, Spam and sweet-sour li hing mui gummy candies dusted with dried salted plums. Raid the freezer for frozen manapua (the Hawaiian version of Chinese char siu bao), Keoki’s lau lau (pork steamed in luau leaves) and poi (mashed taro root).

Beyond the market, the kitchen churns out Hawaiian plate lunch, like furikake-crusted mahi and kalua pork with scoops of rice and mac salad, among other dishes. Get there early for limited orders of Diamond Head’s fried chicken, enveloped in a spicy salt and vinegar crust, and andagi, balls of deep-fried dough similar to donuts. This past Sunday, the warm, plump musubi of the day came with egg and Spam or Portuguese sausage. They plan to introduce more dishes down the line, such as onigiri and okazu, Japanese small dishes served with rice.

There are, of course, poke bowls, but they’re not the customizable, over-sauced versions common at American fast-casual poke spots. Here, seasoned ahi, salmon or tako come over a bed of white rice. One version of ahi, called “Hawaiian style” on the menu, is showered with toppings like salty ogo (seaweed from the islands), ground kukui nuts, scallions and bubu arare (tiny round Japanese rice crackers) for added texture and flavor.

Elena Kadvany

Customers have gravitated to the shave ice. The machine is almost constantly whirring out fluffy bowls of the favorite Hawaiian treat. The chef-owners have made over 20 syrups for the dish, from lilikoi and coconut to lychee, plus toppings like mochi and kinako powder. Other desserts include Hokkaido soft serve ice cream and thick slabs of house-made butter mochi.

Food Guide Top 25 Restaurants Where to eat in the Bay Area. Find spots near you, create a dining wishlist, and more.

All food is to go, but there’s counter seating alongside the front window for customers who want to eat there.

Diamond Head. Wednesday-Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. until sold out. 260 El Camino Real, San Bruno. 650-636-4007

Elena Kadvany is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: elena.kadvany@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ekadvany

Guy Fieri’s 10 favorite spots on Hawaii: Where to dine and dive once things are safer

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Larry Bleiberg

Special to USA TODAY

You can’t expect the man who built his career around chasing down “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” to take a typical vacation. So when Guy Fieri brings his family to Hawaii, he doesn’t spend much time by the pool.

“There are so many great places on the islands. The more you dig into it, the more you find,” he says. “Spend your two days on the beach and then go see things.”

He highlights new finds and old favorites on a new four-episode series, “Guy: Hawaiian Style,” which debuts Saturday, on Discovery+ network, and shares some favorites with USA TODAY.

Hawaii may be discouraging tourists from visiting right now due to rising COVID-19 cases in the state but you can still put them on your bucket list for your next visit.

► Hawaii governor urges tourists to stay home amid COVID surge: ‘Now is not the time to visit the islands’

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

When the Fieri family heads to Maui, this is where they set up base. “It’s our go-to spot, centrally located and easy to get around,” Fieri says. The modern-style resort has an open-air lobby and four pools. “It’s more quaint, not a big, huge place, and they’ve got a great beach. If it’s spring break time, most likely, you’ll see us there.”

More information: hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/hawaii/andaz-maui-at-wailea-resort/oggaw

Lahaina Divers

Fieri got his scuba certification with this Maui company and brought his wife and youngest son for classes as well. Part of the class involves taking off your mask while 20 or 30 feet underwater. It’s usually an unnerving moment, but his instructors were “super conscientious,” he says. “These folks are so hands-on and so helpful, and so aware.”

More information: lahainadivers.com

Star Noodle

This Asian-style noodle joint on Maui should change its name to OMG, Fieri says. “It’s the kind of place worth making a trip for. I’d eat there every day.” Highlights include homemade ramen made with an 80-year-old machine from Japan and a Vietnamese crepe filled with shrimp and pork bathed in coconut milk that you eat wrapped in lettuce. “It’s a big flavorful, unique presentation.”

More information: starnoodle.com

► Tightening restrictions: Hawaii imposes COVID restrictions for restaurants, bars but does not change visitor entry requirements

Maui Sporting Clays

Anyone can go to Hawaii to surf, but how about shooting skeet? Fieri says when he tires of the beach, he heads to this hidden spot, located inside an extinct volcano. “This is nuts. The views of the ocean are mind-blowing.” The instructor, an award-winning shooter, takes clients through dozens of stands. “In two hours, he changed my way of shooting,” Fieri says.

More information: mauisportingclays.com

Piper Sportfishing

Although Fieri may love eating and cooking seafood, he has never claimed to be a fisherman himself. Still, he was amazed by what he learned about marlin and other species during an outing with this Maui charter fishing company. “It was such a great experience. It’s like getting a full master’s course in what big game fishing is all about,” he says. “These guys did such a great job.”

More information: piper-sportfishing.com

Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse

As a member of the Barbecue Hall of Fame, Fieri’s glad to have found Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse on Maui, which draws from both Texas and North Carolina styles. “The guy’s burnt ends are bananas, and the cornbread blows my mind. It’s not go-to-the-basics cornbread. It’s the real deal.”

More information: fatdaddysmaui.com

Umekes Fishmarket Bar & Grill

You can taste your way around Hawaii at this authentic Big Island spot. Fieri loves everything from the poke to the lau lau – pork and Hawaiian salt wrapped in taro leaves and steamed for 10 hours. The chef, he says, brings a passion to every dish. “It’s about the authenticity, the creativity, and highlighting the Hawaiian experience,” he says.

More information: umekesrestaurants.com

Jack’s Diving Locker

Fieri had an unforgettable experience diving with manta rays at night off the Big Island, using a light to attract plankton. The fish, which can be 20 feet wide, are drawn to the food and put on a show. “They’re the size of a barn door, and they’re flying over you,” he says. Guests that don’t dive, can still enjoy the adventure, using a snorkel and mask to watch from above.

More information: jacksdivinglocker.com

Alley Restaurant at Aiea Bowl

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” swears by a Honolulu restaurant based in a bowling alley. This is where Fieri celebrated a recent birthday, hosting his production team, parents and children. “It’s a total local place. It’s the bomb.” Fieri even had its oxtail soup – made with Chinese spices, ginger, mushrooms and peanuts – shipped back home to the mainland. Another highlight: the grilled Pepsi cola-marinated turkey sandwich.

More information: aieabowl.com/restaurant

Fresh Catch

In a state where even the convenience store poke can be amazing, you have to be doing something pretty spectacular to bring the marinated raw fish salad to new heights. But Fieri swears by this Oahu restaurant, which serves 20 different varieties. His favorites include ahi poke topped with limu seaweed and tako (spicy smoked octopus). “You can really taste the authenticity,” he says.

More information: freshcatch808.com